ECONOMY

Banks’ capital adequacy

The issue of the capital adequacy of Greek credit institutions may prove to be an obstacle to the projected new round of acquisitions among banks, sources say. The planned introduction of International Accounting Standards (IAS) and the stricter rules being implemented globally in the industry by the Basle Convention, which will raise the criteria for banks’ creditworthiness, is said to be a matter of concern to the Bank of Greece (BoG). The issue is included on the agenda of today’s scheduled meeting between the central bank’s top officials and the Hellenic Bank Association (EET). According to the sources, BoG Governor Nicholas Garganas will press for speedier adaptation by banks to the new requirements and the maintenance of a strong capital base. Furthermore, he will ask for details of banks’ progress toward the adoption of IAS and the additional burdens this will imply for their capital adequacy. The central bank is also said to be keen to see commercial banks further improve transparency in transactions with clients, possibly with the adoption of new legislation. The agenda for today’s meeting also includes a briefing on progress in the application of Teiresias, the interbank data system for monitoring borrowers’ creditworthiness, as well as discussion of surety funds for depositors and investors. The central bank is due today to release its interim report on monetary policy, which is said to have been the subject of «particular attention» and discreet pressure by the government. Going by Garganas’s recent statements, the report will contain an evaluation of all spending measures included in the government’s pre-election «social package» and comments on the projected deficit overruns in the 2003 and 2004 budgets.